Skydiving!!!

October 16, 2010 was the most perfect day of my life. We had a thrilling, exciting and life-affirming experience that day… skydiving!

We chose the Skydive Space Center because they offer the world’s highest tandem jump at 18,000 feet. For this type of skydiving, you’re strapped to the front of an experienced jumpmaster, and you get to freefall for 13,000 feet, which is a little over a minute – it doesn’t last long when you’re going 120 mph! Then after the parachute opens, it takes about 5-6 minutes to cover the last 5,000 feet to the ground. We also got the Ultimate video package to go with it, which means you have a videographer to film your freefall, and your jumpmaster has a camera on his wrist, so the entire jump is filmed.

We arrived at the center around 10am, and the first order of business was to get weighed (there’s a 220 pound weight limit), pay for the jumps, andย  sign our lives away on 12 pages of paperwork. Yep, I get it… skydiving is dangerous. Yep, I get it… I could be hurt or killed. Yep, I got it the first 10 times you stated it in the paperwork!

Skydiving Paperwork

With the papers all signed, initialed and filed, it was time to go out to the hangar to see about getting our gear and safety briefing.

When we went out, we each got to meet our jumpmaster and videographer. I was hoping for a cute jumpmaster and I was not disappointed! Cris gathered all of his people together and we got instructions on what to do and how the jump would go. Ki (my excellent videographer) did my pre-jump interview (which you’ll see below); Trav and Bleys also got their interviews, gear and briefings, and we were ready to go.

Skydiving - Ready to Go!

We were in the third group to go up, so as we waited, we watched the other groups leave and then land. The only thing I was little nervous about was the landing (if I break a leg, how can I go dancing?), but after watching the others come in, I didn’t worry any more. All of the landings were without incident – very smooth. Also while we were waiting, we met the pilot. When somebody commented on jumping out of a perfectly good airplane, he said, “Yeah… it’s not that good of a plane.” As long as it was good enough for the 15 minute ride up to 18,000 feet, that was good enough for me. ๐Ÿ™‚ We also had an impromptu dance practice on the foxtrot box step while we waited and Bleys’ videographer wanted to know if that was our last dance. I hoped not!

By the time we were ready to board the plane, my face was sore from smiling so much… I don’t think the grin left my face the whole time we were there. Little did I know what a massage my face was about to get! So, without further ado, here’s the video. Because it’s edited to include shots from two cameras, the freefall seems much longer than it really was. Down below are my comments about different parts of the video.

[HTML1]

2:00 The center is in Titusville, near the Kennedy Space Center. Off in the distance, we could see the buildings and runways for the Space Center.

2:55 We exit the plane. What a rush as we tumble for the first few seconds. I forgot to arch my back and keep my head back… I’ll remember next time, Cris! If I do that, can we freefall on our backs for a few seconds? I think that would be neat.

3:13 For a split second (and it’s written all over my face!) I think, “Oh crap, I just stepped out of an airplane!”

3:45 You can see the airport near the middle of the screen. It looks so small from up there!

5:00 I wonder what all of the hand signals mean. Or are they making their bodies do certain things with gestures? Perhaps I’ll find out if I ever train for a job as a skydiving videographer.

5:43 Ahhh… sweet, sweet relief, from the wind in my face and my ears popping.

Skydiving - Parachute Opens

6:27 I should have looked in the thesaurus before we left, for synonyms to the word “awesome!”

6:50 Wheeeeeee! Pull down on one of the steering lines and you go sideways and do circles! That was a really fun part.

7:15 I’m a little disappointed in my answer to the question, “Will you do it again?” All I thought about at that moment was the money instead of the thrill. Later on, after I had time to process the whole thing, my answer changed to, “Yes, definitely! When can we go again?”

7:45 Perfect, soft landing. I had a little wardrobe malfunction on the way down… shortly before we landed, Cris loosened the harness and my bra came popping up over my boobs. Whoops!

8:04 Trav comes to get me. I’m so glad he was there when I got finished.

After the jump was over, I felt spent, but in the best way possible. What an intense experience! The buzz from the jump lasted about three weeks… I felt so good! Ki said it was addicting, and I can see now how that can be. I watch my video every day and I can’t wait to go again.

I especially want to thank Cris & Ki for making a safe and fun experience I will always treasure.<3

Skydiving Freefall

Random links from Opera tab cleanup…

I have to get rid of some of my open tabs in Opera.

Wow! Opera is much faster now. ๐Ÿ˜€

We’re going skydiving!

We’ve wanted to sky dive ever since we met. This weekend we are finally doing it!! We have reservations to jump out of a plane at 18,000 feet. Woo hoo!

We Visit Orlando Again

This time we went to spend the day with Trav’s cousins, and we had a lot of fun! They were staying at Summer Bay Resort in Clermont. While John was cooking lunch on the grill, we were watching two guys riding jet skis on the lake. They were starting to get pretty close to each other and when they came around and circled real close, one guy dumped it over. Then he couldn’t get it flipped, so they had to come tow it away with a tiny rescue boat. Rather amusing!

Great White Egret

After lunch we went swimming, plus me and Melissa participated in the line dancing… here we are doing the Cupid Shuffle!! There’s no sound, so you’ll just have to sing along in your head – to the right, to the right, to the right, to the right, to the left, to the left, to the left, to the left, now kick, now kick, now come on baby kick, now walk it by yourself, walk it by yourself! Etc.

[HTML1]

For dinner, we went to a local seafood place called High Tide Harry’s, on Semoran Blvd just up the road from the airport. We chose it because it had pretty good reviews, and they had to pick up their daughter at the airport. We got Melissa and Kat to try alligator, and they liked it! The place has great ambiance, and the food was good. I had a bowl of blue crab stew and a salad, along with hushpuppies and the appetizers of gator and fried okra. Yum!

High Tide Harry's

And here’s Mandy with her fishbowl of Long Island Iced Tea. 32 oz! We all helped her finish it… it was actually pretty tasty. I’m glad somebody got that special drink because it’s pretty darn fun.

Mandy with Fishbowl of Long Island Iced Tea

Just down the road from the resort are tons of gift shops, many with huge, garish decorations on the buildings. On the way back, we decided to stop at one of them. I scored a dolphin mood necklace and two very pretty anklets. One is the Del Sol kind, where the string turns a different color in the sunshine, and the other is made of paua shell dolphins. Here’s the outside of the shop. It looks hazy because the camera lens fogged up with the humidity and I didn’t have time to wait for it to clear… had to hurry up and shop!

Magic Castle Gift Shop, Kissimmee Florida

I’m liking the Orlando area very much – we’ve had a lot fun there recently!

Aww, Nuts!

I found some adventure food at the meat market… canned breadfruit nuts. I wasn’t sure what to do with them until I found this post at Chowhound. I boiled them in salty water for about 10 minutes and they turned out pretty good. A lot like boiled peanuts (which I love) but more firm and with a smoky taste.

Orlando Trip

The other day, we took a drive over to Orlando to visit with Trav’s brother Mike and his family, and to give Bleys some stuff he needs for his apartment. We had a great visit! Here are a few pics from the resort where they are vacationing.

Trav & Mike Resort

Emmy & Mike

We hung out at the pool for a while, then went up to get ready for dinner at Agave Azul. Yay! I’m happy to report it was just as good this time. I got the Pollo Mole – it was seasoned very well and I enjoyed it a lot. Trav had the fajitas and reported them to be excellent.

Since they have over 200 kinds of tequila, I felt like I wanted a drink with tequila in it. After marveling at the $65 shots of Anejo and thinking about sipping a glass of straight tequila (could I smell it without my belly doing a flip?), I decided on the Purple Margarita. It has tequila, cranberry juice and Chambord (a black raspberry liqueur). It was delicious! Kind of expensive but worth it. It’s in the pic below.

Emmy, Trav, Kierra, Bleys, Alia, Mike, Corwin

Mike decided to order all 5 desserts they had on the menu, for 8 of us to share. I was SOOO full when we left there! And we got some pictures for LickYourPlateClean.com, tee hee!

Vacation!

At the end of July we went on Trav’s birthday trip for this year, to visit family and friends in Pennsylvania and New York. It was a fun and relaxing trip! We drove straight through both ways – 22 hours up and 26 hours back.

The first two days we spent at Trav’s dad’s house. On the way there, we were out in the sticks and saw a sign on route 80 that said “Highest point on Route 80, east of the Mississippi” and Trav said, “Hey look, we’re in the middle of nowhere, and I can see my Dad’s house from here!” It’s so far out, Google Maps doesn’t even know the way to his house. We drove through some quaint little towns on the way, so that was nice.

On Saturday we made a bunch of cream cheese penguins, for the family reunion we were to attend on Sunday. It went really fast with 5 people – we had quite the assembly line going. I had an idea for a transport box which mayย  have worked if I had been more precise, and if we hadn’t been driving for 3 hours to get to the reunion. My sandal also came flying out from the back and smacked the box right in the middle. I took dental floss and strung it in a cardboard box, making square sections for the penguins to stand in. Here’s how it looked when we got to the reunion. Oh, the carnage!

Penguin Carnage

The family reunion on Sunday was a lot of fun. We picked up our niece Alia and took her with us for the day of visiting. At the reunion, we got to see a bunch of people from Trav’s mom’s side of the family. There was lots of good food (including a few raspberries plucked off the bushes) and many friendly people. They held a mystery package auction to raise money for next year’s reunion and we played bingo for little prizes. I got some nail art bling for winning a game of bingo. Whee! I’m also pretty excited about getting some rocks with fossils out of the creek. We have no rocks in Florida and I got to bring home some really cool slabs of slate. Pictures to follow later.

AfAlia's dyed hairter the reunion, we went to visit Trav’s Frewsburg Gramma and his dad’s side of the family. That was a lot of fun, too. More food! More great people!! I snapped this pic of Alia’s newly dyed hair while we were there. I just love how this one turned out… she’s such a pretty girl. We also had birthday cakes there… Janelle made an eclair cake which was delicious and not too much trouble to make. Let’s see if I can remember… mix a batch of whipped cream with french vanilla pudding. In a cake pan, make layers of graham crackers and pudding mixture, then melt some frosting and pour it all over the top. Refrigerate and you’re all set. Mmmmm!

The next two days we spent visiting with friends in Jamestown and Frewsburg, New York. We also did some work for one of our oldest and very best customers, setting up a new laptop and cleaning up his PCs. Here we are sitting on Ralph’s $70,000 Harley:

Trav & Emmy on Ralph's Harley

Ralph took me for a little ride on his bike and I must say, it was very comfortable!

One of the places Trav likes to go when he’s home is Johnny’s Lunch. They serve Texas Hots there – hot dogs and hamburgers with a kind of chili sauce and piled with onions. Yummy! They’ve been around since 1936 and show no signs of slowing down… the place was packed the whole time we were there.

Trav & Bleys at Johnny's Lunch

We met John & Carol and Rick & Terry at Patsy’s on Monday and for supper we had Lena’s pizza. More yum! They have the best pizza.Then on Tuesday we went to The Rio in Frewsburg, to meet with up with some of Trav’s old school chums and family, too. That was a really fun night. They had good food and we laughed and laughed together. Here are the family members that showed up:

Family at The Rio

The last two days we spent at Trav’s dad’s house. For my birthday, we went to a couple of wineries and sampled & bought some really good wine. After that, Syl and I went shopping at the thrift stores in St. Mary’s, and I scored a bunch of nice jewelry and a new dress which has been dubbed my “couch dress”, because Trav thinks it looks like something a sofa would wear.ย  ๐Ÿ™‚ย  It’s a very pretty dress and I can’t wait to wear it on a Friday night when we go out dancing.

On the way home, we went on what is apparently the second most congested highway in America. During rush hour. On Friday! It took us several hours to go 35 miles on Route 95 South in Virginia, near Washington, D.C. I’ve never seen traffic like that before, and I hope I don’t again any time soon! It all worked out, though, and that brought us to Fairfax and Richmond, where we stopped to visit with a couple of Bleys’ friends. We went with Langdon to a place called Noodles & Company which had really good food at reasonable prices – college students know all of the best places! Lex took us to a little downtown diner where I got a slice of green tomato pie, which was interesting and tasty.

The rest of the trip home was pretty uneventful… we slept and drove in shifts and arrived home around noon on Saturday. I just love getting home to see Sadie and the kitties. They were very happy to see us, and we were so happy to see them! Luckily, Trav’s dad has three very friendly cats so I didn’t get too homesick this time… I had somebody to pet. Plus we were pretty much on the go the whole time we were there.

In all, a great vacation.

Dance Video

Last night, one of our dance friends brought along a video camera to film birthday celebrations at the Elks. They also happened to capture us doing a merengue dance, so as soon as we can get a copy of it, I’ll post it! People really seem to enjoy watching us do that one. Must be because we have so much fun!

Dilemma

I’ve had a particular tab open in my Opera for months now… it’s very sad but I can’t seem to get it out of my mind and I don’t want to forget.

The site below has a series of pictures from a little island that’s 2000 miles away from the nearest continent, where lots of albatross chicks are dying because the parents pick up plastic floating in the ocean, believing it’s food for their babies. The pictures show the contents of the chick’s bellies.

Midway – Message from the Gyre

I’m not sure why it affects me so much … it makes me want to do something about it. Perhaps my next calling in life will be to help clean up the Great Garbage Patch. And here’s the Wikipedia entry for lots more info.

Youโ€™re an extreme redneck whenโ€ฆ

  1. You let your 14-year-old daughter smoke at the dinner table in front of her kids.
  2. The Blue Book value of your truck goes up and down depending on how much gas is in it.
  3. You’ve been married three times and still have the same in-laws.
  4. You think a woman who is out of your league bowls on a different night.
  5. You wonder how service stations keep their rest-rooms so clean.
  6. Someone in your family died right after saying ‘Hey, guys, watch this’.
  7. You think Dom Perignon is a Mafia leader.
  8. Your wife’s hairdo was once ruined by a ceiling fan.
  9. Your junior prom offered day care.
  10. You think the last words of the Star-Spangled Banner are ‘Gentlemen, start your engines’.
  11. You lit a match in the bathroom and your house exploded right off its wheels.
  12. The Halloween pumpkin on your porch has more teeth than your spouse.
  13. You have to go outside to get something from the fridge.
  14. One of your kids was born on a pool table.
  15. You need one more hole punched in your card to get a freebie at the House of Tattoos.
  16. You can’t get married to your sweetheart because there’s a law against it.
  17. You think loading the dishwasher means getting your wife drunk.

๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

New poll & puzzle

Today we started assembling a puzzle, and as I sorted to find the edge pieces, I wondered what other people do when they find pieces still hooked together.ย  So here’s the poll!

[poll id=”6“]

Here’s the puzzle – I got it (still shrink-wrapped) at a yard sale for $2:

Dragon Puzzle

The colors in it are just beautiful. We got the most fun part done this afternoon – the edge. ๐Ÿ™‚ We’re finally set up to do puzzles without them getting wrecked by the cats. The last time we were at Lowe’s, we got a piece of plexiglass which we can clamp onto the kitchen table. It works quite well so far… now we just need to find time to complete it!

Finally! A good place for Mexican food.

And we only have to go to Orlando to get it! We went over to visit Bleys and ended up discovering Agave Azul.

Agave Azul Authentic Mexican Restautant in Orlando, Florida

The food was delicious! I had a combination plate with chile relleno, chicken enchilada and picadillo taco. Trav had beef fajitas and Bleys had chicken fajitas, which they said were good. The homemade tortillas were very tasty and with the appetizer chips they served a yummy ranch-based dip.

The restaurant is beautiful. The entrance has a fountain of stone wall with a curtain of water and the decor is of soothing blue and earth colors, with nice tables and cushy, comfy booths. I can’t wait to go back! I’m going to get the Mole de la Casa next time. Mmm!

Dance Friends

Tonight we went out with a bunch of friends from dance class. First to Pape Kibo’s for dinner and a fantastic flamenco show with Gypsy Star, then on to Sam’s Hudson Beach… a little place right on the Gulf, perfect for watching sunsets.

Sunset at Sam's

We had a group of 12! Thanks to all who showed up. ๐Ÿ™‚

Dance Crew

It was a good sunset, too! I like this picture Trav took (I adjusted it just a little).

Silhoutte

I wish I had taken pictures of the show at Pape Kibo’s. They had a flamenco dancer who was very good – dramatic – dancing to the music of a 5-piece band. The lady doing percussion was very entertaining, too. My favorite part was the dancer, in her fiery red ruffled dress, castanetsย  expertly wielded in her fluttery hands. Amazing.

Delicious fish!

We had Barbeque Halibut Steaks for dinner tonight and it was really good. We had to substitute tuna steaks for the halibut because that’s all they had at Publix. We were wondering if all of the fat and sugar cancels out the goodness of the fish. Hmmm….

When peaches are in season, we want to try Halibut with Zesty Peach Salsa.

If you have a good fish recipe, we would love to have it. ๐Ÿ™‚

Happy Birthday, everybody!

Tonight we went to Pape Kibos to celebrate Pris and Kathy’s birthdays. It was awesome! Here we are, after delicious bread and tasty drinks, about to eat a delectable dinner.

Pape Kibos - Ready to eat!

The ambiance of the place is Ernest Hemingway… big game, savannah-type stuff.

Pape Kibos Decor

They serve exotic meat, which I love to try. Tonight they had kangaroo and silly me, I didn’t ask how much the specials were. My mistake!! This is about how I looked when I found out how much my dinner cost…

Pape Kibos Surprise

Yes, that says $55 for the kangaroo. This one time, it was worth it. We easily got $55 worth of entertainment between the six of us, what with the jokes and all. Steve wanted to know if they would take a check for the kangaroo or would they be afraid it would bounce?! tee hee

We highly recommend Pape Kibos in Hudson, Florida, for incredibly delicious Italian food served in human-sized portions at (mostly) reasonable prices. Danielle and Leena are wonderful servers! Plus the owner said it was OK for us to lick our plates clean there. I wish I had licked my plate clean tonight. Next time I will, because the food is so good. MmmmMMM!! :p

Update: Pape Kibos is no more… they just couldn’t figure out what they were trying to be, I guess! So sad.

Update 2016: We are still getting mileage out of this story. LOL!!

Easter Gathering

We had a fun and delicious Easter celebration this year, at our house. It was so good to see everybody. Here are the pictures!

Aunt Susie
Aunt Susie
Taffy
Taffy
Trav
Trav
Aunt Susie & Pris
Aunt Susie & Pris
Bleys
Bleys
Kathy & Steve
Kathy & Steve
Gramma
Gramma

Spring Break Visitors!

My niece and her boyfriend came to visit Florida for spring break and while they were here, we got to see them! We all went up to visit the manatees at Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park.

Adrianne and Phillip at Homosassa Springs

The park serves as a rehabilitation center and refuge for endangered West Indian manatees that have been orphaned or injured in the wild and also for manatees that have been born in captivity. In addition to the manatees that live in the park, we got to see a few wild ones, including one with her baby in tow.

Mama and baby manatee

The spring is the headwater of the Homosassa River, pumping millions of gallons per hour of crytal clear water.

Emmy & Trav at the headwaters of Homosassa Springs

We had a really great time at the park and Adrianne surprised me with a stuffed manatee! He lives on my desk and I take him into my lap for patty-pats now and then. He is so soft and I just love him.

Adrianne, Phillip & Emmy in front of the Wyland mural

After the park, we took the scenic route to a little place called Pape Kibos, for dinner. Along the way, we got to see the Gulf, lots of sawgrass marsh and palm trees.ย  We also spied a redneck taking his dog for a walk… the dog was going along the road, and the redneck was in his pickup truck, staying alongside the dog. Too funny!

Pape Kibos was a nice place for dinner… we plan on going back there again. The food was unusual and very good. I had a dish called Scallops Al Duko, which was scallops sauteed with black olives, capers, white wine, tomato and overfried spinach. The spinach was really good – it was like tissue and it melted in my mouth. Trav had a chicken ceasar salad. Adrianne had Chicken Grandma (with white wine garlic sauce with capers, black olives, artichoke hearts and asparagus) and Phillip had Snapper Bobo (with grilled asparagus, tomatoes, capers and oregano bread crumbs). It was all very yummy.

Then we went for ice cream – Phillip’s treat. Thank you very much, Phillip!! After dessert we went down to the Hudson marina to see if we could catch a nice sunset. It was really cold and windy down there! But we did stay long enough to see the red sun dip below the horizon.

Hudson Beach Sunset

In all, a fantastic day. Thanks for coming to see us, guys!

Barbie Nails

The prom must have turned on some kind of girly switch in me… I discovered it’s fun to paint my nails! Here’s a design I did a couple of weeks ago – my first attempt at fingernail painting.

I actually kind of like this one – it reminds me of the Barbie dune buggy from my childhood. I’ve been getting inspiration from the designs at Schmucknagel.de – there’s some really cool stuff on there!

Super Bowl Cream Cheese Penguins

My friend Jean went to a Super Bowl party and we got to make penguins for the event! In this batch we had football players, refs, cheerleaders and spectators.

Super Bowl Cream Cheese Penguins - Overview

Jean printed out a picture of a football field and we put that on some foam board and wrapped it in green plastic wrap. The players have cocktail onion shoulder pads, the cheerleaders have parsley pom-poms and the spectators have carrot flags.

Cream Cheese Penguins - Football Field

Next time one team will wear green olive heads. Or one whole team could be made of green olives! And perhaps a tiny carrot bikini top held on with a dot of cream cheese over the middle of it, for the cheerleaders. Anybody have other ideas on how you can decorate football penguins? Feel free to comment below.

If you like these, you can get the recipe and more details here.